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The Ballad of Pumpkin Patch (Part I)

July 22, 2015

The Horse Farm

After my birthday, I tried to stop seeing him again. Or at least I said I wouldn’t sleep with him again.

Anyone else finding this annoyingly familiar? How many times did I say the same thing with Z? And again with Mr. Moon? I’m such a little chicken-shit-pussy-liar. You see where this is headed.

Anyway, he was going to a concert at one of Lafayette’s newest parks, The Horse Farm. It’s called that because, well, it used to be a horse farm. I awkwardly suggested that we could go together. He said he was meeting someone there. I instantly felt foolish for the suggestion. After assurance that he was not meeting a “date,” he said, “It might be nice to see you there.” Strange wording. Not exactly encouraging. But I went anyway not knowing what to expect.

I immediately saw him there at the beer truck. He said hello and we stood around uncomfortably. I was scanning the audience for dance partners, finding none. He excused himself to go join his sister. I walked away feeling particularly weird and self conscious. I was starving and had very little cash, so I planted myself in line for a kid’s taco and went off to eat alone by an oak tree. “Where are you?” he texted. I told him where I was. I thought he might come over. I finished eating and got up. I tried to dance. I found my co-worker. We danced a little. I caught glimpses of him now and again but he didn’t seem interesting in hanging out with me. Then I got a text from him, “Aren’t you the social butterfly?” I didn’t know what that meant. I was confused.

When I was talking to a couple I know, he came up beside me. I introduced him. He offered to buy me a beer. Waiting for the beer, I pulled out some lipstick and, repeating a stupid gesture I do all the time because I’m self conscious about applying lipstick, I held out the lipstick case to him and said, “Want some?” To my delightful surprise he said, “Sure” and put out his lips. I applied the lipstick between the course hair of his short mustache and beard, laughing at him. The ladies at the beer truck were amused. He turned to me and planted a big kiss on my cheek, pulling away to check the result. “You can barely see it!” he exclaimed. I looked at him and laughed.

“You want to meet my sister?” he asked.

He took me over to a very small, almost apostrophe-shaped, beautiful woman. I told her how lovely she was. She talked to us in between glances over the grounds where her six children were chasing giant bubbles that someone was making with a rope.

“How did you two meet?” she asked.

I looked at Pumpkin Patch. He looked at me. It seemed awkward to say, “We met on Tinder.”

He made some joke about being at the same truck stop on the highway. I picked it up and ran with it. We were good at that, messing with people extemporaneously.

“Oh, the dating app, thing? Now I remember,” his sister finally said. “Yeah. I know about you. He told me about you,” she said.

Everyone was leaving and he and I lingered on the grounds. Every time I looked into his eyes I got nervous and laughed. I liked him a lot. It was becoming increasingly important to me like he liked me too. And I didn’t know where I stood. I was confused and conflicted. He obviously wanted to spend time with me. He obviously liked me a lot. But then there was the whole…I’m dating other people….thing. It was difficult not to feel rejected by that. To feel like I wasn’t enough.

But I tried to cut him some slack. To understand where he is and what he needs to do right now. He’s me, three years ago. “Who would have been right to date you three years ago?” Liz had asked me recently. “Nobody,” was the obvious answer.

We awkwardly said goodbye and he gave me a light, tender kiss.

As I got to my car he texted, “I’d invite you over but I know you’ll decline.”

“Is that a non-invite, invite?” I asked.

“No.”

“You want to give me the chance to answer?”

“Would you like to come over?” he asked.

“Yes. I’ll be there in a little bit.”

When I walked into his apartment he put his arms around me and we kissed. I love to kiss him standing up. I love the way our bodies fit into each other. We’re almost the same height. I love the feel of his arms and the way he puts his hands behind my head.

We sat on his couch and talked and kissed until it was way past his bedtime. (He works an early morning shift.)

“I like you a lot, Marie,” he said in my ear.

“I like you too,” I said.

“When can I see you again?” he asked. I love the unhidden desire in that question.

“When do you want to see me again?”

“We could go to artwalk Saturday,” he suggested.

“I’d like that,” I said.

He kissed me again, our bodies pushing against each other, wanting more.

“Goodnight Pumpkin Patch,” I whispered in his ear.

He laughed.

“Goodnight ”lil bit,” he said.

He had decided on ‘lil bit, as my nickname because I often reply to statements and questions with “Little bit.” My nickname could have easily been, “Shut it down.”

I went home looking forward to Saturday. I would be walking around downtown with Pumpkin Patch.

I was excited.

 

to be continued……

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